May Day in Tacoma’s Wright Park

A lively line dance starts Tacoma's May Day celebration.

A lively line dance starts Tacoma’s May Day celebration.

When I was a small child, we used to have a huge May Day celebration in school. We’d make construction-paper May baskets, fill them with flowers, and deliver them as surprise gifts by hanging them on someone’s door knob, ringing the bell, and running away–probably the only time that this childhood prank had a positive outcome. The school celebration also included an outdoor gathering where we sang and danced, including the dance in which we’d weave ribbons around the Maypole. What ever happened to this joyful celebration? I think it may have been cut in reaction to the big communist brouhaha on the first of May–or perhaps some parent objected the the holiday’s pagan origins.

Today the Puget Sound Revels presented a traditional May Day celebration in Tacoma’s lovely Wright Park. This group presents several performances and community events throughout the year, culminating in the very popular Christmas Revels. My neighbor Kay was in charge of this year’s floral brigade, and supervised the making of scores of floral crowns for the dancers–anyone who joined in the celebration was bedecked with flowers.

Banner parade

Singers from Puget Sound Revels led us in song and dance, including this lively drum line.

Drum Line May Day

We sang several rounds of various traditional songs, with lots of references to the Green Wood, the Green Man, Summer is Icumen In, deer hunting, etc.

Of course, the day’s festivities concluded with the traditional May Pole dance. What started out as a bit of a knotted cluster ended up forming this lovely pattern on the pole.

May Pole 1

May Pole 2

A Hey Nonny Nonny time was had by all. Thanks to the Revels crew for a lovely welcome to summer.

4 thoughts on “May Day in Tacoma’s Wright Park

  1. Corina

    We made May Day baskets and hats in elementary school when I was growing up. I always wished they would have a May Pole but nope! I’m glad you got to do that. Maybe one day I’ll get to enjoy that too.

    Reply
    1. admin Post author

      Did you at least have good weather for May Day? It really felt like the first day of summer up here. Funny, how giddy that can make us, even when we’re no longer young.

      Reply
  2. claireannette1

    We celebrated May Day when I was a child so my children continued the tradition. I was in a Maypole Dance when I was 5 and I have never forgotten it. The pole was so beautiful when wrapped with the ribbons. This is a holiday that should be brought back.

    Reply

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